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Assessing the Level of Danger

There are 10 factors that may indicate that you are in a potentially lethal situation. Recognizing three or more of these factors in your relationship, increases the risk of lethality.

1. THREATS OF HOMICIDE OR SUICIDE: Kill her first, then the children, then himself
2. FANTASIES OF HOMICIDE: Plans with specific details
3. DEPRESSION
4. ACCESS TO WEAPONS
5. OBSESSIVENESS ABOUT PARTNER OR FAMILY
6. JOB THREATENING CIRCUMSTANCES: Laid off or fired
7. RAGE
8. DRUG AND ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

    1. Higher level of injury by either partner
    2. More frequent E.R. visits

9. PET ABUSE

    1. Intimidation
    2. Threatens to hurt animal

10. ACCESS TO VICTIM AND THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS OR FRIENDS

What is a healthy relationship?

  • Intimacy develops slowly from a friendship to a commitment. Your partner is capable of a fulfilling intimate relationship. S/he doesn’t have deep emotional scars from his childhood or a previous relationship. He is capable of trust and being trusted.
  • A healthy relationship is based on a commitment. You feel secure about the future of the relationship. There is no confusion or fear of abandonment. You do not have to cling to the man in your life for fear that he will want to pull away. You feel relaxed and are not anxious about losing the relationship.
  • Two partners do not need each other. They are already individually strong–the relationship enhances their lives. There is consistent sharing of pleasurable activities. You are not constantly disappointed or irritated by your partner’s destructive habits–alcoholism, affairs, drug abuse, or physical violence.
  • A partnership is based on friendship and respect. Your partner is your close friend, who encourages you to become your best. No one acts superior to the other. No one has to beg or plead. Parenting philosophies about discipline are collaborative and negotiated with each other.
  • A partnership has true intimacy, where each partner can reveal and share about themselves. There is trust and concern about each other’s welfare and happiness. You can openly talk about your needs. You are listened to.
  • Partners resolve conflict in a peaceful and calm manner. Feelings can be openly expressed. Conflicts are resolved by coming to a compatible agreement. There is no right or wrong person if the agreed decision does not work out satisfactorily.
  • In a healthy relationship, individuals see themselves as partners. There is good communication; there are feelings of closeness and joy. Both partners believe that they can gain far more by remembering to keep agreements. There is no need to dominate and compete with each other.
  • Partners maintain an enthusiasm about the other’s hobbies, work, and friends. You can focus on your daily lives and the needs of you children.
  • Each partner has a circle of friends and interests outside the relationship. You are not isolated.

Recovery Growth Steps

  • I will let go of my personal denial which inhibits me from being truthful about abuse.
  • I will closely examine how abuse has affected my life.
  • I will admit to at least one woman that my relationship has been painful.
  • I will admit that I have been abused.
  • I will admit that my brain has responded with helplessness, depression, hopelessness, denial, guilt, indecision, resentment, and/or neglectful parenting.
  • I will admit that I have spent a lot of time badgering my abusive partner to break down his defenses so he can listen to me. To control a relationship, I have used mental or sexual manipulation, nagging, submission, or psycho-analyzing.
  • I will not dwell on my past mistakes.
  • I can learn from my past involvement in domestic violence.
  • I will let go of my inclination to criticize myself for the abuse.
  • I will give myself acknowledgment and positive reinforcement.
  • I will stop looking for men who have intimacy problems.
  • I will be watchful and cautious of my need to be involved with these kinds of men.
  • I will not set myself up to suffer or be a martyr to a man who verbally or physically abuses me.
  • I will be watchful for how abuse predisposes me to addictions: spending too much, eating too much, cleaning too much, drinking too much, taking drugs, or smoking too many cigarettes.
  • I will focus on myself.
  • I will initiate and incorporate into my life a supportive network of people who are capable of giving healthy love.
  • I will learn how to release others so they can live their own lives.
  • I will admit that it is okay for me to express anger.
  • I will learn positive anger skills.
  • I do not have to be quiet when I am angry.
  • I do not have to submit to be verbally or mentally assassinated by an angry or stressed out mate.
  • I will stop procrastinating about what is important for my future and my happiness.
  • I will not involve myself in relationships that are abusive and do not encourage my well-being.
  • I will take time to get to know the man I am considering for a close relationship.
  • I will explore my friendship with a man first, before we become involved in a relationship.
  • I will not decide impulsively that he is “just what I have always wanted,” and will wait to see if he can be a friend and keep trust agreements.
  • I will examine whether I am “getting something” out of a possible relationship.